Mon, Aug


UPON receiving the devastating news from Trinidad on the death of his infant son, goal keeper Marvin Phillip using his fists, punched a glass window outside of his hotel room in Brazil.

 “It is not anything I would wish upon my worst enemy,” an emotional Phillip told Sunday Newsday in an interview at the family Springland, Gasparillo, home yesterday evening. 

Phillip was in Brazil with his team members preparing for a match against Iran to take place today. Baby Matai Joshua Cameron Phillip died after being taken to a daycare in Chaguanas. 

According to reports, at about 6.15am on Friday Matai’s grandparents Lincoln Halls and Gemma Ottley had dropped off the boy at Anointed Angels Daycare at Cicada Street, Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas. Halls said he had also handed the infant’s baby’s car seat to the day care. 

Halls said that at the time the attendant was alone with Matai and about five other babies but stated that other attendants would be arriving at 8 am. 

One hour later, the daycare telephoned Matai’s mother Lesley-Ann Halls, a police officer assigned to the Gasparillo Police Station, and told her the baby had been taken to the Chaguanas Health Facility. When the relatives arrived at the Health Facility, baby Matai was already dead. The distraught mother was later told it is believed that baby may have choked on the strap of his car seat. Matai who turned ten months last Monday had been at that daycare since he was five months-old. Matai, also nicknamed “Tai”, is the first child for the mother and Phillip’s third; he has two elder sons. 

Phillip, 30, received the news of his son’s death shortly after 10 am Friday. Overcome with grief and emotions the national footballer walked outside the hotel room and punched a glass window at Sao Paolo, Brazil. Team members immediately rushed to his aid. The team’s doctor attended to the grieving father. Phillip sustained injuries to his left and right hands. He was attended to and received five stitches to his right hand. His hands are now bandaged. 

“I was distraught on hearing the news. I end up punching a window this is why I have this band on my hand, it was not a nice feeling, hearing the news of the death of your son. It’s really a sad moment for me and my family. It is difficult for all of us knowing that Matai is just a ten-month- old innocent child, ” he said trying to hold back his tears. Matai would have celebrated his first birthday on August 2. “His mom and I had a lot of plans for him on his birthday, as my birthday is August 1 and he was born August 2 so I was really looking forward for his birthday and it is going to be difficult not having him here for his birthday.” he said. 

Phillip said he was grateful for the support from his team members. He said that he was awaiting the results of the autopsy tomorrow. “We hearing a lot of contradicting stories so it all depends on what the autopsy says, if negligence was involved at the daycare I would do all the steps to take action on the day care. I leave everything in God’s hands,” he said.

Phillip overcome with emotion
By Sue-Ann Wayow (Express).

MARVIN PHILLIP, Trinidad and Tobago’s national footballer, was so overcome with emotion upon hearing about the death of his son that he smashed a glass window causing damage to his right hand.

On Friday, Phillip’s ten-month-old son Matai Phillip died at a day care facility in Chaguanas shortly after he was dropped off by his grandfather at 6.15 a.m.

Police said the child was placed in a car seat at the Anointed Angels Day Care, Cicada Street, Edinburgh 500 and there was the possibility he could have suffocated or strangled with the seat belt.

Phillip, 29, who was in Sao Paulo, Brazil at the time, said he was distraught when he heard his son died.

Phillip spoke to reporters yesterday at Matai’s home where he lived with his mother Leslie-Ann Halls in Springland, Gasparillo. Halls is an employee of telecoms provider TSTT and a part-time Special Reserve Police Officer.

The footballer left Brazil Friday night and travelled home via Miami. He arrived in Trinidad at 2 p.m. 

Phillip said he first knew something was wrong after reading messages from a relative at around 9.30 a.m. on Friday when he returned to his hotel room after having breakfast. The footballers were not allowed to have their cellphones with them during breakfast, Phillip said.

“It was one of my cousins who messaged me first saying how is my young son doing. Apparently they did not want to break it to me at that point. The messages he was sending to me, I knew something was wrong,” he said.

He said he called Matai’s grandfather to find out if anything was wrong and he was told his son died.

Phillip said: “It’s really a sad moment for me and my family. It’s really difficult for me and difficult for a lot of us knowing Matai is just ten months old, an innocent child. It is not a good feeling to hear that your young one has passed. I was distraught. On hearing the news I ended up punching a window.”

The team’s doctor administered five stitches to Phillip’s right hand.

His teammates also supported him.

Phillip said: “A lot of guys supported me. They tried to console me. A lot of them shed tears, they wouldn’t want it to happen to themselves. 

I would not want to wish this on my worst enemy.”

An autopsy is expected to take place tomorrow at the Forensic Science Centre, St James.

Until then, Phillip is unsure as to what action he may take.

“All we are waiting for is the autopsy (tomorrow) to see what is really going on. We are hearing a lot of contradicting stories but we are waiting on Monday for the autopsy to speak out more on it. If negligence was involved, yes, I would follow the steps to take action... At this time, I really can’t comment on that, the way I feel right now, I leave everything in God’s hands.”

Phillip said he was looking forward to celebrating his son’s first birthday on August 2, one day after his own.

He said: “It will really be difficult not having him here for his birthday. Hearing you son die is not a nice song to hear.”

Phillip has two other sons ages nine and five. He lives at Willliamsville.

Cops probe another baby’s death
By Jensen La Vende (Guardian)

The relatives of ten-month-old Matai Phillip will have to wait until Monday to find out what caused the child’s death yesterday. They say they were told to return to the Forensic Science Centre on Monday, as the baby’s case was a “special one.” The child was the youngest son of his father, national footballer Marvin Phillip, and the first and only child of his mother, PC Lesley-Ann Halls. 

The child’s grandfather, Lincoln Halls, said he dropped off Matai around 6.15 am yesterday at Anointed Hands Day Care at Cicada Street, Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas.  Halls, who spoke with the media outside the Forensic Science Centre yesterday, said he gave the child to the caregivers and then gave them the car seat. He said Matai was not in the car seat because his wife was holding the child at the time. 

Just after 7 am Matai’s grandmother Gemma Ottley was called and told to go to the Chaguanas Health Facility as the child was unresponsive. “When I left him he was jolly and playing. Then I went to the health centre, minutes to eight, and the child was lifeless. “They said he was in the child seat and the strap may have choked him. “The crib is the safer place. You wouldn't take a child from a crib to put him in a car seat. The only time I would put him there is when he in my view. That sounding so strange,” Halls said.

Police said caregivers at the daycare centre said Matai had a history of respiratory problems. The caregiver said after receiving Matai he was placed in the car seat. Some time later he seemed to be asleep, so the caregiver went to put him in the crib and noticed he was not breathing.

The caregiver, who is trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), tried to revive  Matai but was unable to do so. Emergency Health Services (EHS) was called in and took Matai to the Chaguanas Health Facility, where he was pronounced dead some time after. Cpl Barrow of the Chaguanas CID is continuing investigations.

Father flies home 

A release from the T&T Football Federation yesterday said Phillip was told of his baby son’s death shortly after he arrived in Sao Paolo, Brazil, for Sunday’s match against Iran. He is expected to return home today. Phillip, the Point Fortin Civic Centre custodian, was the reserve goalkeeper in Wednesday’s friendly international against Argentina.

Pathologist calling for full medical history
T&T Express Reports.

THE exact cause of death of the ten-month-old son of national footballer Marvin Phillip could not be determined yesterday.

A determination is expected to be made when the child’s complete medical history is presented to the forensic pathologist on Monday.

According to relatives, around 6.15 a.m. yesterday, Matai Joshua Cameron Phillip was dropped off at the Anointed Angels Day-care Centre at Cicada Street, Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas.

The child had been taken to the centre from his home at Spring Lands, Gasparillo, by his grandfather, Lincoln Halls.

Relatives said just before 7 a.m. they got a telephone call from the day-care advising them to go immediately to the Chaguanas medical facility. When they got there they were told the child had died.

Halls, who spoke to reporters at the Forensic Science Centre yesterday, said he was told by one of the day-care employees the child had been crying incessantly in a crib, following which he was taken out and placed in a child car seat. About half an hour later the boy was found motionless in the seat, he said.

Halls said around 7 a.m. he got a call from the boy’s mother, Leslie-Ann Halls, who said she had been told by the day-care that something was wrong with her son. 

Halls told reporters: “When I left him at the day-care centre he was jolly and playing and when I went to the health centre minutes to 8 (o’clock) the child was lifeless.”

Leslie-Ann Halls is a special reserve police officer at the Gasparillo Police Station.

Lincoln Halls speculated that when the boy was placed in the car seat he may have choked on a strap in the seat. He added, “But the crib is the safer place because you wouldn’t take them from a crib to a car seat. ... In my view that sounding so strange.”

The forensic pathologist at the Forensic Science Centre in St James has decided that he wanted a copy of the child’s complete medical history before fully examining the body.

The Express was told by the police officer investigating the case that the baby may have had respiratory issues prior to his sudden death and that all angles needed to be covered as the investigations continue.

Warriors in mourning
T&T Express Reports.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) issued a statement yesterday, disclosing that Marvin Phillip, the team’s reserve goalkeeper, who did not play in the friendly between Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina on Wednesday, was told of his child’s death at 10 a.m. and was headed home last evening.

The Education Ministry told the Express it had no jurisdiction over privately-owned day-care centres.

The Trinidad and Tobago Nursery Association said the Anointed Angels Day Care was not a member of the association.

The following is the statement issued by the TTFF: 

The Trinidad and Tobago camp was thrown into mourning early on Friday after receiving the tragic news of the death of the ten-month-old son of goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.

The T&T team arrived in Sao Paulo at 2 a.m. on Friday for Sunday’s match against Iran. Shortly after 10 a.m., Phillip was told his son, Matai, was found dead at a day-care in (Chaguanas) where he had been dropped off earlier by his mother.

Phillip is now scheduled to depart for home on Friday evening with assistant manager Peter Rampersad and is expected to arrive at Piarco around midday today. 

Phillip is still coming to terms with the death of his first child’s mother, Aldella Gill, who passed away last month due to heart complications.

The Point Fortin Civic Centre custodian was the reserve goalkeeper in Wednesday’s friendly international against Argentina. He has been a member of T&T Under-17, Under-20, Under-23 and senior teams.

National team head coach Stephen Hart, in a brief statement, expressed condolences to Phillip and his family on behalf of the team and the TTFA.

Hart told TTFA Media as members of the team gathered at Phillip’s room at the Bristol International Airport Hotel: “This is tragic moment in Marvin’s life. He has faced some traumatic moments in the last month.” 

He added: “Our hearts go out to him and the family. This is such a sad moment, I cannot even begin to understand what he must be going through emotionally. All this really places life into perspective for myself personally and us as a team.”